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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Vortex Gun  
  A device that projects whirling fields of atomic instability.  

The pursuing fleet crept up behind, in spite of Giles Habibula’s frantic appeals to the Commander. The first shot from the vortex gun came after the Phantom Atom: a vast expanding field of atomic instability that burned strange with deadly radiations and sucked at the fugitive ship with a ruthless attraction.

“Let me tune your geodynes!” gasped Giles Habibula, as the tiny vessel fought that consuming maelstrom. “I’ve been an engine man for fifty precious years, and I can coax the generators to more than they can do.”

And, indeed, when his deft hands had retuned her geodynes, the tiny vessel began to draw ahead again. The second whirling field of atomic disruption groped after them with weaker fingers; the third flamed and died far behind. And the Phantom Atom was many hours ahead of the fleet, when they came to the geofractor.

From One Against The Legion, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding in 1939
Additional resources -

Compare to the Disruptor Tube (Disruptor Ray) from The Emperor of the Stars (1931) by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat), the de-atomizing ray from Crashing Suns (1928) by Edmond Hamilton, the Bethé blasters from Cities in Flight (1957) by James Blish and the annihilator beam from Conquest of Gola (1931) by L.F. Stone.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from One Against The Legion
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to One Against The Legion
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

Vortex Gun-related news articles:
  - Giant Air Vortex Gun

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